How to Recognize and Address Customer Service Burnout

You can’t really measure “burnout.” It’s not a diagnosable medical condition. But you can learn to recognize it.

Customer service professionals have to deal with angry, frustrated, or concerned customers much of the day.

It’s simply difficult for any human mind to operate in that state for around 2000 hours per year without suffering negative effects.

How Do You Know Your Customer Service Rep is “Burned Out?”

So let’s start with identifying burnout. How do you know if your rep is becoming “burned out?”

Here are the telltale signs and symptoms:

  1. Frequently angry with themselves, customers, or colleagues
  2. A short, snippy attitude that’s easily triggered by small things
  3. Increased mistakes on tasks normally done easily
  4. Appearing as though they no longer care to do a good job
  5. A defeated, worn-down posture
  6. Complaints of headaches

Burnout is a situation to avoid. Clearly, when your customer service reps feel burned out, they’re not going to offer great service.

And that means angry customers, and most likely permanently lost customers.

You’ve probably felt burned out at least once in your life before, whether that was at work or in your personal life.

How Do You Deal with Burnout?

Now that you know how to identify burnout, what do you do about it when you observe it?

Here’s a simple plan:

1. Talk with Your Employee About It in a Safe, Non-Judgmental Way

Punishing burnout won’t make it go away. It’s simple and easy to accuse your employee of not doing good work and tell them to “shape up.”

But that won’t improve their performance because you’re not addressing the root issue.

The number one thing you can do is have a safe, casual, and objective conversation about what’s going on.

That way you can actually understand the problem, build a relationship, and more than likely move forward on a successful path again.

2. Encourage Employee Self-Care

Burnout comes from working too hard for too long in too high of stress. Your employees must understand how to manage this on a long-term basis.

Make sure they have every resource available: counseling, breaks, vacations, a fun and motivating work environment, healthy eating resources, and information on the mental health benefits of exercise.

When employees take care of themselves, they avoid the negative mental trap that feeds burnout: feeling like the situation will only get worse.

And their attitude improves, even though they’re doing the same things for the same hours every week.

3. Meet with Your Employees Regularly

A team leader regularly checks in with their employees to see how they’re doing. In other words, you want to be highly concerned with each employee’s personal and professional welfare.

You should be constantly monitoring this and helping your employees to stay in good mental health because that’s the place from which their performance flows.

If you do these three things, you will catch burnout before it becomes a major problem.

It means happier team members, satisfied customers, and more consistent revenue.